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Aberdare National Park

TThe Aberdare are an isolated volcanic range that forms the eastern wall of the rift valley, running about 100 Km north south between Nairobi and Thompsons Falls. This beautifully scenic region is much cooler than the savannahs and offers a completely different perspective on the country. The national park lies mainly above the tree line. The scenery is spectacular with its mountainous terrain covered in thick tropical forests swathed in mist.

Aberdare National Park is located about 150km (93 miles) east of Nairobi, and is easily accessible from Nyeri and Naro Moru. The Park is 87 km (54 miles) from Naivasha. Most tourists travel by road with a tour operator.

Airport – There are two airstrips located near the Aberdare Headquarters at Nyeri and Mweiga.

Highlights and Attractions
• Game animals easily seen in the park during game viewing include; African Elephant, black rhino, leopard, spotted hyena, olive baboon, black and white colobus monkey, sykes monkey, cape buffalo, warthog, common zebra (North Aberdare), bushbuck, reedbuck. Rare sightings include those of Giant Forest hog, bongo, golden cat, serval cat, African wild cat, African civet cat, blue duiker.

• Very beautiful sceneries of Aberdare include magnificent waterfalls with the main ones being Karuru waterfalls which fall in three steps, 1st step 117M, 2nd step 26M and 3rd 130M, making a total of 273M, Chania waterfalls and may other smaller ones.
• Adding to the beauty of Aberdare are many ridges and river valleys which attract mountain scenery photographers.
• A recent marked attraction in Aberdare is the 400Kms electric fence which was completed – final post on 28th August, 2009. The fence protects the whole Aberdare ecosystem from human pressures and contains wildlife, preventing human/wildlife conflict.
• Visitors can also indulge in picnics, trout fishing (in the past the rivers were stocked with brown rainbow trout) in the rivers and camping in the Moorlands. Bird viewing is rewarding with about 290 recorded bird species, including the Aberdare Cisticola that is critically endangered and the Jackson’s francolin, which is regionally endemic, sparry hawk, goshawks, eagles, sunbirds and plovers

What to do in the Aberdare National Park – Game drives and mountain hikes, photographic and birding safaris.
The Experience
The experience in Aberdare National Park is unlike anywhere else in Kenya. The Park is most famous as the place where Princess Elizabeth found out that she was Queen upon the death of her father at Treetops Lodge. Since then this lodge has been popular with tourists on safari to Kenya.

Half the thrill of game viewing in this park is an Elephant or Buffalo suddenly appearing out of the thick rainforest vegetation. One of the best places to see the local denizens is at one of the waterholes by the lodge. The Park has several high mountain peaks, deep ravines with icy mountain streams and many beautiful waterfalls with a moorland plateau. You can explore the park while on game drives and trek up the high peaks and take in the spectacular scenery.

The thick rainforest gives way to bamboo forest and interesting alpine vegetation the higher you travel up the mountain peaks within the park. The forest is home to populations of forest Elephants, Buffalo, Lion and several species of antelope such as Waterbuck, Duiker, the rare Suni and Bushbuck. If you are very lucky you might catch a glimpse of Kenya’s rarest antelope, the Bongo. The Park is also home to a healthy population of Black Rhino.

Serval and Leopard also occur some of which have a rare black coat. There are many species of primates, including Black and White Colobus and Sykes and Vervet Monkey’s.

The forest is a hidden world of wildlife. The thick vegetation provides perfect cover for countless species.

Aberdare Accommodation
The Ark Tree Lodge
Aberdare Country
Outspan Hotel
Treetops Hotel
Climate
The Aberdare National Park covers the bulk of the heights of the Aberdare Mountain Ranges in Central Kenya. The best times to visit the Park are in January and February, as well as June and September. Due to its high altitude the region is much cooler than the savannahs and coastal plains.

The region is misty and it rains year round, however, there are two main rainy seasons, from March through May and October through December. Due to the high amounts of rainfall during these periods, the roads may become impassable.
Sample day trek in the Aberdare seen below.

Getting Around – Main road access to the Aberdares is via Mweiga or Nyeri, both easily accessed from Nairobi by bus/matatu or private transport.

A DAY TREK TO OL’DONYO EL’SATIMA (3,900m.)

Aberdare national Park
“Ol Donyo EL Satima” in Masai , means, The Mountain of the Satima Tribe.
The Satima Moran’s frequented this area for ceremonial purposes. “Ol Donyo El Satima” is the highest point in the Aberdares and is situated at the north most end of this folded and uplifted range.

Although there is no permanent snow or ice, former glaciations are responsible for the formation of large U – shaped valleys. The Aberdares lie along the edge of the Rift Valley and on clear days, magnificent views of the Rift Valley are to be seen to the west and views of Mt. Kenya to the east.

Our safari starts from the Lodge at 08.00 hrs. The drive to the Aberdare passes through interesting Savannah Country, full of plains species of fauna and flora, the trough farmlands on the lower slopes and finally into the lush Aberdare National Park which is famous for its abundance of wildlife. At about 09.30 hrs, we arrive at (3,300m.) where our trek begins.
The trek across this lovely afro-alpine moorland is like nothing else available in Kenya. The rolling open terrain is extremely attractive for walking and the possibility of seeing a number of animals including leopards, against a background of fantastic vegetation makes this trek very enticing. We picnic on top of El Satima after about three to four hour-walk. We then drive back to the Lodge, arriving by 18.00/1900hrs to a sumptuous dinner.
Please note that the Aberdare range is in high rainfall area, subject to sudden storms. A rain parka, water bottle, light wool sweater and day pack for camera and other gear are essential